Support to the development of a maritime strategy in the Western Mediterranean sub-sea basin
European Commission DG MARE - EASME (Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises)
The WestMed Strategy project is commissioned by the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) and the Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE). Its main objective is to prepare a Maritime Initiative for the Western Mediterranean and the development of an action plan to implement this.
The key is to find practical areas of cooperation which will help all countries involved bring sustainable maritime economic development (the Blue Growth concept).The vision is also to address the major environmental challenges of the sea-basin, transform existing economic activities into less polluting and resourceful activities, and to promote opportunities for green growth. Safety and security are also a prerequisite for such development, as well as for the continuation of the democratic, modernisation and peace process.
Next to extensive desk research, active engagement with stakeholders forms the heart of the approach. Not only to validate findings and ensure that interests and concerns are properly taken into account. But also to gauge and generate support for the course of action that will ultimately be proposed. These consultations will both be on- and offline and will be aimed at the whole maritime community situated around and using the Western Mediterranean.
The first phase is meant to obtain a good understanding of high potential areas for cross-national and cross-sectoral cooperation. It will be the basis to assess the possible added value for the EU and (political) readiness for this initiative. A review of the existing literature regarding economic, social and environmental contexts and challenges is conducted in order to set the scene. In addition, existing governance and cooperation agreements are identified and reviewed which could support the development of a maritime strategy in the Western Mediterranean. These findings will be tested more in-depth through four Focus Group meetings with stakeholders in order to ascertain and obtain their ownership for endorsement.
The second phase will focus on drafting the Initiative and its Action Plan in much more detail. It will further build on the cooperation options with broad stakeholder engagement. Both offline and online. Offline, with a number of events to reach stakeholders who are potentially interested and affected by such a strategy. And online, by inviting people to join web-based discussions on specific topics that become paramount.
The WestMed Strategy project is carried out by a consortium that consists of three highly qualified organisations. These three organisations have combined their network, skills and experience to ensure a solid outcome. Their extensive know-how involves working with a wide variety of maritime stakeholders from countries bordering the Western-Mediterranean sea-basin. As a result, they are fully aware of and experienced with its complexity when it comes to political governance and socio-economic and environmental data-gathering.
- Ecorys leads the consortium. They have been involved in numerous Blue Growth strategic initiatives across the EU, including the Mediterranean. Their main area of expertise and focus for this project is project coordination, stakeholder consultations, event management and Impact Assessments.
- Plan Bleu has a strong expertise in mobilising the support of Mediterranean stakeholders towards the implementation of sustainable development strategies within the framework of the Barcelona Convention.
- SML offers strong expertise in designing Integrated Maritime Policies (IMP-MED) and strategies in Mediterranean countries. They understand the political context and have first-hand access to sectoral data in important ‘domains’ for the project.